5 FLIGHTS UP
Alex (Morgan Freeman) and Ruth (Diane Keaton) have been married 40 years, all of which time they have spent in an apartment in Brooklyn, where Alex has his art studio. There is no lift and they live five flights up. With Ruth's pushy real-estate niece Lilly (Cynthia Nixon) encouraging them to consider the option of moving, they begin to re-evaluate their life and routine. As they enter the real-estate game, their beloved dog Dorothy is taken to the vet and there is a terrorist threat, which impacts on their state of mind.
Review by Louise Keller:
Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton are wonderful together in this delightful exploration of life and love in New York. Based on a novel by Jill Ciment, director Richard Loncraine (Wimbledon, My House in Umbria) has artfully created an undercurrent of tension from everyday events, as artist Alex (Freeman) and his wife Ruth (Keaton), follow the trajectory of the next stage of their lives. It's about the little things and the big things while the dynamic between Freeman and Keaton is solid gold. It's lively and fun, insightful and real as we are swept along in their company through the rollercoaster of their lives.
Less is more; no clutter, says Lilly (Cynthia Nixon), Ruth's pushy, realtor niece as she bulldozes into Alex and Ruth's apartment in preparation for the upcoming open house. She is like a tornado before the storm - the storm being the onslaught of potential purchasers, whose presence is nothing short of unsettling. The scenes in which the open house takes place are very funny: a cutting snapshot of human nature at its worst. There's the outspoken critical husband, the fussy dog-owner, the precocious kids, the woman who needs to lie on the bed to assess the apartment and the little girl Zoe (Sterling Jerins) who has a more mature approach than most of the adults. Then there is the bidding war between the aptly described Dog Lady, Matching Sweater and Blue Leggins. Alex and Ruth are nonplussed by it all.
Then the boot is on the other foot as Alex and Ruth decide to dip their toes in the water and look for a new apartment for themselves. All of a sudden, they are in other people's space, observing how they live. Their relationship is close, playful, loving. He plans for the worst and hopes for the best; she is the eternal optimist who wears her heart on her sleeve. Meanwhile, tension escalates as the health of their little dog Dorothy becomes an issue and through news reports, they learn of a terrorist at large.
Freeman's narration aptly provides an insight into his thoughts throughout while the flashbacks describing key moments, are charming. We are there when they first move into the apartment 40 years earlier; when Dorothy is a puppy; when they meet as artist and model; when he becomes established as an artist; the baby issue and family expectations and prejudices when marriage is on the table. It is in these understated scenes that we get to know them well and learn their history.
With New York as its enticing canvas, there is much pleasure to be gained from this charmer of a film in which the past, the present and the future each plays its vital role.
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5 FLIGHTS UP (M)
CAST: Diane Keaton, Morgan Freeman, Cynthia Nixon, Carrie Preston, Joanne Adler, Claire van der Boom
PRODUCER: Curtis Burch, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary, Tracy Mercer, Charlie Peters
DIRECTOR: Richard Loncraine
SCRIPT: Charlie Peters (novel by Jill Ciment)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jonathan Freeman
EDITOR: Not credited
MUSIC: David Newman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Brian Morris
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Becker
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 13, 2015